Last week, we told you about a former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accusing him of create the most 'toxic' work environment she's ever experienced in her career. The woman -- a progressive Democrat named Lindsey Boylan -- said many other Cuomo alums have privately confided that they've seen the same thing, but people are terrified to speak out against the powerful and vindictive leader. Over the weekend, Boylan published another Twitter thread, which appeared to be building toward an accusation. She opened by describing an experience her mother had years ago: "My first experience of workplace sexual harassment was when my mom got her first real office job after graduating from college when I was in high school. She was so excited to be taken 'seriously.' Her bossed isolated her and kissed her. She never had that type of job again." Next came these follow-ups:
And I promised myself I would never let those kind of guys win. I would work hard my whole life to put myself in positions of power to change things. To end the violence & corruption. Give voice to the voiceless.— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) December 13, 2020
I am not stopping. I refuse. I will never give up.
Then came the allegation:
Not knowing what to expect what’s the most upsetting part aside from knowing that no one would do a damn thing even when they saw it.— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) December 13, 2020
And I *know* I am not the only woman.
Three central claims: (1) Cuomo sexually harassed her for years, (2) others witnessed it, (3) there are more targets of the governor's alleged harassment. Boylan concluded: "I’m angry to be put in this situation at all. That because I am a woman, I can work hard my whole life to better myself and help others and yet still fall victim as countless women over generations have. Mostly silently. I hate that some men, like @NYGovCuomo abuse their power." Is Boylan credible? That remains to be seen. For those of us who believe in the importance of evidence, Boylan is simply making claims at this point, which anyone can do. It's an established fact that she worked for Cuomo, and she's involved in Democratic politics -- so those factors make her more credible than, say, Christine Blasey Ford, who presented no evidence that she'd ever even met Brett Kavanaugh. Ford's attorney also admitted an ideological motivation she and her client harbored in advancing unfounded claims against Kavanaugh. Boylan, by contrast, worked with Cuomo and is on the same partisan 'team,' so to speak.
But those things don't constitute hard evidence that she's telling the truth. She could be a disgruntled former employee with an unrelated axe to grind. She could perceive some sort of advantage in leveling these allegations in her quest for elective office in New York (although it's unclear what the benefit of making a powerful enemy within her own party would be). Boylan says there are multiple witnesses and multiple other victims. If the harassment was that brazen and improper, there should be at least some corroboration. She should work to produce it, and she should offer specific details about her own claims. Just because Cuomo is a loathsome political figure doesn't mean that he's guilty of anything or everything bad, based on somebody's say-so. On the other hand, those who preached "believing women" during the Kavanaugh fiasco should take Boylan extremely seriously and presume she's telling the truth, regardless of evidence. That's their standard (which many of them jettisoned when it was no longer politically useful).
Why is Boylan raising these accusations now? It could be because she has some sort of agenda. Or it could be that she's watched this man cover up deaths, lie incessantly, write a self-congratulatory book, while accepting awards and basking in adulation -- and simply cannot stomach it anymore, knowing what she says she knows. Being repulsed by Cuomo's shamelessness and his enablers is a completely plausible motive here. There's a lot of material by which to be nauseated:
I'll leave you with Cuomo's younger brother once again making a mockery of the conceit that his CNN role is that of a 'straight journalist' (his tweets often read like the half-baked emissions of a slow-witted resistance 'reply guy'), as well as a rather colorful quote attributed to a New York journalist that further underscores the reputation the governor has cultivated for himself -- which may help explain why so few people are willing to cross him, and why Boylan may feel like she's out on an island:
Congratulations, America! trumpers lost. Scotus kicked them to the curb. Again. Packing the court didn't beat justice. My guess is the retrumplicans dont quit...because this was never about loyalty or law...it is abt fealty and cowardice. Make them Do their job! #Remember— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) December 12, 2020
Years ago, a reporter covering Cuomo once mused to me that “If it weren’t for politics, Andrew Cuomo would be a serial killer.”— Evan Siegfried (@evansiegfried) December 12, 2020
Andrew Cuomo serving as attorney general would be disastrous on so many levels. https://t.co/Dki8dM3hGq
Yes, Cuomo is reportedly under consideration to become the nation's top law enforcement officer in the Biden administration. While I'm appalled by that idea, part of me would like to watch those confirmation hearings, at which the governor may experience something approaching accountability. That's unlikely to happen in deep blue New York. This question is snarky, sure, but also sadly relevant:
How many questions will Gov. Cuomo get this week about the sexual harassment allegations him?— Karol Markowicz (@karol) December 13, 2020
Does Joe Biden have any comment? Or will he just mutter that he's "proud" of Cuomo and walk away?
UPDATE - Cuomo denies.